Diabetes in dogs and cats is on the rise – that’s according to a story in the Daily Mail this week.
Pet insurer Animal Friends says cats are most at risk. The insurer’s study of 9,000 pets showed an increase of 1,161 percent in feline claims since 2011. At the same time, cases in dogs have increased by 850 percent.
An expert from the UK veterinary charity, the PDSA, told the Daily Telegraph that one of the reasons for the increase in diabetes among cats and dogs was owners feeding their pets human food, which has far too many calories for them.
Animal Friends received just 62 claims for cat diabetes cases in 2011 – compared to 721 claims in 2015. Symptoms of the disease in pets include the pet being hungry or thirsty all the time, along with peeing more often.
Diabetes in cats and dogs can be managed with insulin therapy and diet and exercise.
To prevent your dog or cat from getting diabetes in the first place:
Check their weight*. This varies depending on breed, but for visual clues you should be able to feel the ribs and spine and see the animal’s waist when viewed from above. The abdomen should be raised. It shouldn’t sag when viewed from the side. Cats are roughly supposed to weigh less than 5kgs.
Check the weight at petMD. The site has a calculator that allows you to calculate the weight for different dog breeds.
Only feed your pet pet food. These can vary in quality. The popular brands tend to have a lot of rice, cereal and vegetables, which aren’t necessarily ingredients that dogs or cats are meant to eat and gluten in particular can upset stomachs. You can buy pet food which is formulated for weight loss.
Check food portions. This is especially important if you are feeding you cat or dog biscuits. Make sure you are giving your pet the recommended amount and no more.
Encourage your pet to exercise. With dogs, this may mean extra walks. For cats, structured exercise is difficult, but you can start by placing his food bowls upstairs or investing in a biscuit dispenser he needs to play with in order to get his biscuits. You can also start playing with him before every meal. Catster has some ideas for how to play with your cat. This is especially important if you have an indoor cat.
Pet weight loss is important – but it also requires expert advice from your veterinary surgery. Be sure to ask their advice before putting your dog or cat on a diet.
*The easiest method for weighing a cat or small dog is to hold the animal, jump on your scales (set the scales to kilos for ease) and then weigh yourself and subtract the difference.